Miami Marlins first baseman Garrett Jones has been struggling during the first three weeks of the season, but he picked a great day to start playing the role of hero. Jones went 1 for 4 including the game-tying RBI in the Marlins series sweeping 3-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Easter Sunday.
With starter Jacob Turner still on the disabled list with a strained shoulder, manager Mike Redmond went all bullpen starting with his old teammate Kevin Slowly. According to Redmond, Slowly “relied pretty heavily of Jeff Mathis” and showcased his sinker, striking out three batters in five innings but gave up two runs which were both on sacrifice flies.
Brendon Maurer made his season debut for the Mariners and took a no-hitter to the fifth inning by mixing speeds and utilizing his slider as the finishing pitch. It was working well until Jones broke it up with a single. After that, Maurer walked Hechavarria, then Jones scores on a single to right field by Donovan Solano and Maurer’s day was done.
"Fatigue hit at the point. Mechanics lost a little there," said Maurer, who is coming back from a back injury. "Felt good through the first four. ... I wish I would've gone a little longer, but I did what I could get done."
Both bullpens froze the bats until the eighth inning where, once again, the Marlins would benefit from replay.
Christian Yelich hit a leadoff double to extend his career-high hitting streak to 14 games and knock Charlie Furbush out of the game. Tom Wilhelmsen comes in and walks Giancarlo Stanton and Casey McGehee, allowing Jones to be the hero once more with bases loaded.
Jones hits a grounder to first baseman Justin Smoak, who instead of getting the force out at first base throws to home for the force play. Yelich beat out the throw but was called out by the umpires.
“I was surprised because I couldn't see the ball but I could hear it,” Yelich said.
The call prompted Redmond to challenge the call. Following a review, the umpires overturned the call and Yelich was ruled safe, giving Jones the game tying RBI.
Hechavarria’s sacrifice fly scored Stanton and gave the Marlins the lead. A 3-6-6 double play probably would’ve ended the inning. Smoak said he might have done that had Jones' grounder been hit a little harder.
Steve Cishek came in the ninth and shut down the Mariners after giving up a leadoff double to Corey Hart. Brad Miller, who pinch ran for Hart, would’ve scored the tying run if not for a play by Hechavarria so good that Redmond called it a “game changer.”
“That's why I feel he's the best shortstop in the league,” Redmond said.
The Marlins capped off the home stand with a 4-2 record. They’re 9-4 at home but 0-6 on the road.
After the game, the Marlins players quickly changed in their Sunday best for a plan ride to Atlanta for a three-game series with the Braves. They finish the upcoming road trip in New York and for their sake they fare better than their first time around.